How Individuals Personally Impact Customer Experience

imgresI really relish the moments when the cosmos work in my favor, when the planets align.  This is one of those times.

I had an experience last night that I thought would make for a good story here.  But, I was struggling with the title.  What was the message?  Then, I saw a tweet from my friend Roy Atkinson announcing the topic for tonight’s #custserv twitter chat.  “How Do You (personally) Make a Real Difference with Customer Service”.  Worlds collided (in a good way).  Planets aligned.

I had my story.  I had my message.

So, how can individuals, whether they be employees or soloists, really impact the customer experience?  First of all, in my opinion, that’s the only way.  Customer experience is a person to person endeavor.  At any and all touch points along the customer/buyer journey, the connection between people is what the experience is based upon.  And, this is regardless of what function that individual is performing as part of the customer experience journey.  So, that being said, on with the story.

I usually end these types of posts with a question.  This time, lets start with a question.  Have you ever thought about how your hours of operation impact your customers’ experience?  More to the point, have you considered how much this constraint can negatively impact your customers’ experiences?  Even more, what criteria do you use to set your hours of operation?  And finally, how are your employees implementing that policy?  (ok, that’s four questions)

Here’s the point.  I was out and about with my family last night.  And after dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, we were on a mission to get long overdue haircuts for my son and my father-in-law.  We drove up to the place my son usually gets his style on, a national chain that will go nameless.  We saw that it was open until eight pm.  As it was currently 7:50, we parked the car and headed in.

Setting the scene.  Two stylists working, each with a customer in her chair.  As we walked in, they both looked up with clear expressions of displeasure on their faces.  As we made our way back to the reception counter, one of the employees left her styling post and quickly informed us that they were closing in ten minutes.  And, we could not be served.

Ten minutes.  They were closing in ten minutes.  Which means, according to my simple logic, they were still open for business.  Hours of operation were until eight o’clock.  It was ten minutes until eight.  Are you with me?  I don’t need to spell it out.  But, to complete the equation, what this encounter equalled was that we will not be returning to that particular establishment in the future.  And, while I’m not going to bash the national brand here, if a local should ask me, they will get my opinion.  Oh, and I can only assume, because hair stylists typically depend on tips for a portion of their income, that these two particular employees do what they do for the altruistic benefit of their unkempt fellow man.

So, when one thinks about how individuals can personally impact the customer experience, how about this?  They can put the customer at the center of everything they do.  They can give a hoot.  They can, at the very least, provide your customers the minimum service and value to which you have committed.

It’s not that complicated.


  1. Barry you are so right. I see this all the time. Often it’s employees who don’t care. People just don’t get it.

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